Common helper functions

The functions described in this chapter are common to all three basic eclasses. To facilitate code reuse, they are declared in python-utils-r1.eclass. However, you should not inherit this eclass directly and instead assume the functions are provided as part of the API of other eclasses.

Eclass reference: python-utils-r1.eclass(5)

Install helpers

The install helpers are provided commonly for python-single-r1 and python-r1 eclasses. Their main purpose is to facilitate installing Python scripts, modules and extensions whenever the package lacks a build system or the build system is not suited for installing them.

The API is consistent with the standard do*, new* and *into helpers. There are four kinds of functions provided:

  1. python_doexe and python_newexe that install executables wrapping them via python-exec,

  2. python_doscript and python_newscript that install Python scripts, updating the shebangs and wrapping them via python-exec,

  3. python_domodule that installs Python modules, or recursively installs packages (directories),

  4. python_doheader that installs header files to Python-specific include directory.

The install path for executables and scripts (1. and 2.) can be adjusted by calling python_scriptinto. Note that this actually affects only the wrapper symlink install path; the actual scripts will be installed in the standard python-exec script directories. This also implies that no two executables can have the same name, even if final directory is different. The default install path is /usr/bin.

The install path for modules and packages (3.) can be adjusted by calling python_moduleinto. This function accepts either absolute path or Python parent module name that causes modules to be installed in an appropriate subdirectory of the site-packages directory. The default install path is top-level site-packages (equivalent to python_moduleinto .).

The install path for headers (4.) cannot be adjusted.

All the helpers can be used in src_install phase, in which case they install the files onto ${D}. Additionally, python_domodule can be use in other ebuild phases, in which case it installs into ${BUILD_DIR}/install. This provides improved integration with distutils-r1 eclass.

python_doexe is generally used to install executables that reference Python but are not Python scripts. This could be e.g. a bash script that calls Python:

make_wrapper "${PN}.tmp" "${EPYTHON} $(python_get_sitedir)/${PN}/"
python_newexe "${ED%/}/usr/bin/${PN}.tmp" "${PN}"
rm "${ED%/}/usr/bin/${PN}.tmp" || die

Note that you need to ensure that the executable calls correct Python interpreter itself.

python_doscript is generally used to install Python scripts to binary directories:

python_scriptinto /usr/sbin
python_newscript pynslcd

It takes care of updating the shebang for you.

python_domodule is used to install Python modules, extensions, packages, data files and in general anything that lands in site-packages directory:

python_moduleinto ${PN}
python_domodule images application ${MY_PN}.py \

It is roughly equivalent to doins -r, except that it byte-compiles all Python modules found inside it.

python_doheader is used in the very rare cases when Python packages install additional header files that are used to compile other extensions:

python_doheader src/libImaging/*.h

Fixing shebangs on installed scripts

If upstream build system installs Python scripts, it should also update their shebangs to match the interpreter used for install. Otherwise, the scripts could end up being run via another implementation, one that possible does not have the necessary dependencies installed. An example of correct shebang is:

#!/usr/bin/env python3.8

However, if the build system installs a script with python3 or even python shebang, it needs to be updated. The python_fix_shebang function is provided precisely for that purpose. It can be used to update the shebang on an installed file:

src_install() {
    python_fix_shebang "${D}"/usr/bin/sphinxtrain

It can also be used in working directory to update a script that’s used at build time or before it is installed:

src_prepare() {
    python_fix_shebang openvpn-vulnkey

Finally, it can also be used on a directory to recursively update shebangs in all Python scripts found inside it:

src_install() {
    insinto /usr
    doins -r linux-package/*
    dobin linux-package/bin/kitty
    python_fix_shebang "${ED}"

Normally, python_fix_shebang errors out when the target interpreter is not compatible with the original shebang, e.g. when you are trying to install a script with python2 shebang for Python 3. -f (force) switch can be used to override that:

src_prepare() {
    python_fix_shebang -f "${PN}.py"

Byte-compiling Python modules

Python modules are byte compiled in order to speed up their loading. Byte-compilation is normally done by the build system when the modules are installed. However, sometimes packages fail to compile them entirely, or byte-compile them only partially. Nowadays, QA checks detect and report that:

* This package installs one or more Python modules that are not byte-compiled.
* The following files are missing:
*   /usr/lib/pypy2.7/site-packages/_feedparser_sgmllib.pyc
*   /usr/lib64/python2.7/site-packages/_feedparser_sgmllib.pyc
*   /usr/lib64/python2.7/site-packages/_feedparser_sgmllib.pyo
* Please either fix the upstream build system to byte-compile Python modules
* correctly, or call python_optimize after installing them.  For more
* information, see:

The eclass provides a python_optimize function to byte-compile modules. The most common way of using it is to call it after installing the package to byte-compile all modules installed into site-packages:

src_install() {

If Python scripts are installed to a non-standard directory, the path to them can be passed to the function:

src_install() {
    cd "${S}"/client || die
    emake DESTDIR="${D}" LIBDIR="usr/lib" install
    python_optimize "${D}/usr/lib/entropy/client"

Querying the implementation information

Most of the time, various build systems manage to detect and query the Python implementation correctly for necessary build details. Ocassionally, you need to provide those values or override bad detection results. For this purpose, the eclasses provide a series of getters.

The following generic getters are provided:

  • python_get_sitedir that outputs the absolute path to the target’s site-packages directory (where Python modules are installed).

  • python_get_includedir that outputs the absolute path to the target-specific header directory.

  • python_get_scriptdir that outputs the absolute path to the python-exec script directory for the implementation.

The following getters are provided only for CPython targets:

  • python_get_library_path that outputs the absolute path to the python library.

  • python_get_CFLAGS that outputs the C preprocessor flags for linking against the Python library (equivalent to pkg-config --cflags ...).

  • python_get_LIBS that outputs the linker flags for linking against the Python library (equivalent to pkg-config --libs ...).

  • python_get_PYTHON_CONFIG that outputs the absolute path to the python-config executable.

Note that all paths provided by getters include the offset-prefix (${EPREFIX}) already and they are not suitable to passing to *into helpers. If you need to install something, use install helpers instead.

src_configure() {
    local mycmakeargs=(
    use python && mycmakeargs+=(

python_test() {
    # prepare embedded executable
    emake \
        CC="$(tc-getCC)" \
        PYINC="$(python_get_CFLAGS)" \
        PYLIB="$(python_get_LIBS)" \